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Miami looks to ASG for action

Day 48/365
Day 48/365

By Meredith Illig, for The Miami Student

When the student body wants to make changes at Miami University, they often look to the lobbying efforts of the Associated Student Government (ASG).

ASG at Miami University performs the function of assisting and representing the student body by acting upon student concerns and requests.

"ASG is a student voice. It's as simple as that," said Amy Berg, secretary of communications and media relations of ASG. "There are over 16,000 students on this campus. People come to our mere 50 senators and 14 cabinet members with their ideas, and our focus is to provide a good representation to those students on campus."

During elections, candidates outline their goals for the year. However, many students are unsure how they go about achieving their goals and the effectiveness of their approach.

"In my two years here, I've heard a lot of hype from ASG candidates but I haven't seen much of what they've followed up on," said junior Courtney Phillips.

While ASG's primary interaction with the student body is through funding, they are taking steps to expand their interaction.

"One of my goals in my position is making sure students know about ASG and know that we're a resource," said Berg.

ASG has been working on developing relationships with student groups. In order to connect with student groups, ASG representatives have attended two student leader dinners with bigger organizations, like Miami Activities and Programming, the Interfraternity Council and the Panhellenic Association, where they communicated with students and talked about goals.

Additionally, ASG is launching a new website where people can reach out to them with any concerns or questions.

ASG has several goals on their agenda this year.

"We're going to continue the push for alcohol sales in all stadiums - Yager, Millet and Goggin," Berg said. "It's something that we hope to see by the end of this year and to hopefully be implemented in fall of 2016."

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Another aim that ASG is pursuing is for future Miami students to have tuition rates locked in over the course of their college careers.

ASG's secretary for sustainability, Seamus Pugh, is currently working with Miami and Oxford administration to establish a bike-sharing program.

Over the past couple of years, ASG has struggled with their goal to expand new recreational facilities to accommodate the growing population of the student body. While they are currently working with administration, only small changes are being made, including the satellite rec center that will be in the basement of what used to be Martin Dining Hall.

Student opinions on the effectiveness of ASG's lobbying efforts vary.

"Miami University's Associated Student Government has been the single most important group in the development and progression of Arnold Air Society as a student organization on campus," said senior Josh Winton.

Winton explained that in addition to their own fundraising efforts, their events, particularly the 9/11 Memorial Run, would not take place if it weren't for the funding that ASG provides.

"The contributions made by ASG have allowed for expansion and innovation in the planning process because of the possibilities that it opens up by providing access to a larger budget," said Winton.

Sophomores Jenny McGregor and Lauryn Lahr, co-presidents of the InFocus Photography Club, had a different perspective on the student government.

"We've never received funding until now, but it was disappointing when they docked our request by $1000, even though our total wasn't even that much," said McGregor.

The reason, according to McGregor and Lahr, was that they requested $2,000 for the cost of the camera lens, but ASG thought that it was too expensive.

With elections having just taken place, ASG is filled with a new crop of senators and officers as well as some returning members.

Senior Kyle Denman, recently elected by fellow RAs as the RA Senator, is serving his third year on ASG. This year, Denman hopes to write legislature on diversity affairs and raise awareness toward unique or unrecognized cultures on campus.

"More importantly, I want to leave a lasting impact on this campus which has provided me with so many amazing opportunities to grow and discover," said Denman.